Sad Girl

10 Ways to Support a Child who is Bullying

There are often complex reasons behind why a child is bullying. A child who is bullying usually has some unmet needs at home or at school. They may be confused about why they’re behaving the way they are.  Some children who bully may be aware of the harm their behaviour is causing but feel powerless to change it, while others may not have any awareness or consideration of how their behaviour affects others. It is nesecessary for a parent/guardian to spend time talking with the child in a calm, open and honest way to get to understand the reasons behind their bullying behaviour. They must be supported also to understand the effects of their actions and that bullying is never acceptable. As part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, here are 10 ways to support a child who is bullying.

  1. Punishment is not the answer to dealing with a child who is bullying. They need support and encouragement to understand what is happening for them and most often they need change to start within the family and for parents to be honest about how they are parenting.
  2. Ask yourself why your child needs to be a bully. What needs are being met by bullying behaviour? How can these needs to be met in a more positive way?
  3. Is your child a bully in the home or just in school or vice versa? Why might this be the case? Children need space to have their voice heard in the home and to have choices and some level of control over what is happening for them in their family. If a child has no voice in the home, they will often need to find a space where they do. This can lead to them needing to take control in situations where they can. We all have a need for control at some level.
  4. Explore how you are parenting your child. Are they involved in decisions in the home, what is your style of parenting? How assertive are you in having your needs met?
  5. Explore what type of communication takes place in the home and what type of boundaries are set. We all have needs and it is important to explore how people look for needs to be met within your family unit.
  6. Talk with your child if you feel they are bullying. Be open to it, they are doing it for a reason and usually have some unmet needs. Explore with them what is missing for them. How are they feeling about themselves in school and in the home? Help them to understand how bullying is harmful and the effects it can have on others. Be accepting of what they say even though you may not always like it.
  7. Role model for your child. Be respectful of them. Help them have their needs met in an appropriate way. Make requests of them instead of demands.
  8. Use positive attention to support their positive behaviours. There will be many. Try not to focus solely on areas of challenging behaviour. If they have challenges, how are they being created for them?
  9. Support your child to explore how they feel and how they can express anger, resentment, jealousy and other emotions without hurting others.
  10. Get extra support for your child if necessary. Communicate with the school. Play and art therapy can really support a child to find their voice and express what is happening for them in life. Children have stresses and pressures also. Don’t presume that because they are a child, life is great.

You might also wish to read 10 Ways to Support a Child who is Being Bullied.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Develop Coping Skills in Your Family; 10 Ways to Respect Difference; and 10 Ways to Build Assertiveness.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or


Image Credit: Pixabay

Sad boy

10 Ways to Support a Child Who is Being Bullied

It is agonising for a parent or guardian to suspect or learn that their child is being bullied while at school. The priority if this happens is to understand and support your child, while taking action to stop the bullying and doing everything possible to prevent it happening again in the future. As part of our weekly series of parenting tips, here are 10 ways to support a child who is being bullied.

  1. As a parent, you need to recognise that your child is being bullied. Pay attention to changes in your child’s behaviour, personality and routine.
  2. If you are concerned that your child is being bullied, and they are old enough to understand the language, ask them straight out. Otherwise ask them in an age appropriate way.
  3. Fostering really good clear ongoing communication between parents and children is the key to knowing your child and supporting them with difficulties. If as a parent you cannot do this, try to ensure that there are other adults in your child’s life that they will talk with.
  4. Encourage children to talk about their feelings, around the bullying and the bully.
  5. It may be difficult, but ask yourself if there is any possible reason that your child may have been vulnerable to being bullied. Explore what you can do to support your child in these areas – children want to fit in and be part of the group. How can you help them with this?
  6. Children with low self esteem and a poor sense of self worth may be more vulnerable to being bullied. Parents need to support children to increase their self esteem. It is important for parents themselves to consider their own level of self esteem as this impacts on children.
  7. Reporting the issue to the school and having regular communication to monitor the situation with the school principal is crucial.
  8. Children need to find their voice in the home and to practice being assertive in order to have the confidence to do this in school and in the play ground. Role play with your child, expect and encourage them to have a voice in the home.
  9. Do not blame, judge or criticise a child for being bullied. Offer reassurance and support. Empower your child to come up with ways to deal with the bullying. Try not to take over. Empowerment will increase self esteem and help your child see that they have the power to make change happen.
  10. Help your child to have positive friendships in school; many children need their parents to help them to make their friendships blossom. Practical ways to help are to organise play dates and be friendly with other parents to help your child find where they fit.

You might also like to read 10 Ways to Support a Child Who is Being a Bully.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Develop Coping Skills in Your Family; 10 Ways to Support Your Child Who is Bullying; and 10 Ways to Respect Difference.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email

One Family offers a range of training options to help parents and guardians to build on their parenting skills which you can find out about here. These include our upcoming Summer School of Parenting Skills Workshops in July.

Image Credit: Pixabay


Toilet Training

10 Ways to Effective Toilet Training

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ series offers tips for parents on toilet training. There’s no doubt that this is a big milestone for both parent and child and it can seem daunting. There is no exact age to begin as every child is different but when you can tell your child is ready – for example, if they are sometimes dry after naps, have some awareness of bodily functions and can communicate them, and are showing an interest or curiosity – you may find our 10 tips helpful:

  1. Are you ready?: As a parent, you must be ready too. You must be ready to acknowledge your child is ready for toilet training, that he or she is not a baby anymore. A new stage has been reached.
  2. Set the date: Once you are sure both you and your child are ready to start, then name the day and get organised.
  3. Be organised: Plan to start when you have at least 3 days at home with your child. Have the potty in place. Talk with your child about how big they are getting and how they soon won’t need nappies anymore.
  4. Involve your child: Bring your child to the shops for a toilet step and pants. Tell them again how big they are getting and how proud you are of them.
  5. Be rigid: For the first 3-5 days, the parent must take the lead. Try to stay home and every 20 minutes on the dot take your child to the toilet. Don’t ask them if they need to go to the toilet, tell them it is time to check. They may complain but play a game with them or sing songs on the toilet so they enjoy the experience.
  6. Child led: After 3-5 days of the parent taking the lead, allow the child to start taking the lead. Remind them and encourage them. Have the potty in the room near where they are playing. Keep their clothes simple to help them make it on time. You will move out to the toilet in the coming weeks.
  7. Be positive: Praise your child for the effort and the success. Do not focus on the accidents. If there are many, simply go back to taking the child every 20 minutes rigidly.
  8. Night time: Encourage your child to wear a pull up at night. But soon you may find they will wake at night and want to use the toilet. Once they object to the nappy, leave it off and encourage them to go to the toilet. Always use toilet before bedtime. Have a ‘no drinks for at least 1 hour prior to bed’ rule. Don’t allow drinks during the night either unless they are unwell.
  9. Travel Potty: Bring the potty wherever you go. On a walk, in the car, on the bus to the shops. Make it easy for your child to succeed. You won’t make it to a public toilet on time and it may not be suitable for them. Bring the potty in a bag and use it. They will gain better control as time goes on.
  10. Stop confusing your child: Don’t put nappies on them when going out. Have faith in your child’s ability to tell you they need to use the potty. You are confusing them otherwise. Are they a baby or are they all grown up? Trust them and let them be responsible.

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Positively Maintaining Contact, 10 Ways to Understand How Your Child May Feel and 10 Ways to Problem Solving.

One Family offers a range of training opportunities for parents and for professionals on an on-going basis. To find out more, click here or call 01 662 9212.




10 Ways to Parent Siblings

Siblings can play wonderful roles throughout each other’s lives though there can be challenges along the way. Here are some of our tips to help nurture those important relationships.

10 Ways to Parent Siblings

  1. Prepare early: talk to older children and prepare them early on about the importance and role of an older sibling as a source of guidance and care. Do be careful that you do not give an older child too much responsibility for a younger one.
  2. Let children express how they feel: if a child is experiencing negative emotions about their brother or sister, allow the child to talk about it. Often a child just needs to be listened to.
  3. Don’t play favourite: never show a special preference for one of your children.
  4. Never compare your children: they are their own individual persons, so celebrate their differences and let them know they are special for who they are.
  5. Respect personal space: make sure each child has enough time and space of their own. Children need opportunities to do their own thing, and to play with their own friends without their sibling.
  6. Positive Communication: teach your children how to positively get attention from each other rather than picking a fight.
  7. Foster co-operation rather than competition: set tasks up that require co-operation among your children, such as having them race the clock to pick up toys instead of racing each other.
  8. Develop ground rules together: have family discussions about what rules to establish and receive feedback from your children. Listening to what they need from you and each other may reduce future conflicts.
  9. Do not shout or lecture: it does not help the situation if you get frustrated too. Your children will learn and imitate the way you handle resolving problems.
  10. Hold children equally responsible: keep in mind that when rules are broken or conflicts arise, it does not matter who started it because it always takes more than one person to cause an argument or fight.

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Positively Maintaining Contact, 10 Ways to Effective Toilet Training and 10 Ways to Run Family Meetings.

One Family offers a suite of training opportunities for parents and for professionals on an on-going basis. To find out more, click here or call 01 662 9212.

(Photo credit:

10 Ways to Establish a Bedtime Routine

Many children find it difficult to settle down at bedtime which can lead to challenges. For this week’s ’10 Ways to …’ post offering parenting tips, we look at how to establish your child’s bedtime routine. Here are some tips that should help:

  1. Adequate Sleep: How much sleep does your child need every day? Use the guide to help you choose an appropriate bedtime: 1-3 years: 10-15 hours including naps / 4-7 years: 10-13 hours with no naps.
  2. Reduce naps: Once children reach preschool age, naps are no longer necessary. It is best to get your child to bed early and get adequate sleep at night time. Early to bed and early to rise!
  3. Routines are crucial: Develop a clear routine around bedtime with your child and stick to it. The bedtime routine should start no later than 30 minutes prior to your child being in bed.
  4. Snacks: It is important to ensure your child is not hungry going to bed but be careful about food choices offered late in the evening. Too much sugar will not aid sleep.
  5. Consistency: Children are consistent in how they sleep and wake. If you let them stay up late, they will generally still get up at their usual time meaning that you’ll probably have a day ahead with a cranky child – and parent.
  6. Quality time: As part of your routine, plan relaxing, wind-down activities for the hour leading up to bedtime. Too much activity close to bedtime can keep children from falling asleep. Think about what play is good to help children relax and calm down.
  7. Share time: Parents and children need to relax together and reconnect after the day. Share stories from your day and talk about what is happening the next day. Children will sleep better when they have had time to tell you about any worries they might have and to share their stories, and they feel safe knowing what tomorrow brings.
  8. Behaviour: The right time to change behaviours is not when everyone is tired. Think about what is problematic and plan changes. Involve your child in the changes. Make sure they know about this prior to bedtime.
  9. The bedroom: Keep it quiet and calm. Make sure the lighting is just right and ensure your child feels safe. Baby monitors are great at all ages as they reassure a child that their parent will hear them if they call out.
  10. Support children in developing self soothing skills: Encourage your child to soothe themselves back to sleep.  Talk about what might help them to do this during the day, not at night time. Agree in advance what the child can do – can they come to your bed or do you go to them?

This ’10 Ways to …’ feature is compiled by Grace Mulligan, Crèche Team Leader, One Family.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Successful Toilet Training and 10 Ways to Happy School Breaks.

The One Family parenting skills courses Positive Parenting and Family Communications are enrolling now. Click here for information.


Girl playing

10 Ways to Understand the Value of Play

For our ’10 Ways to …’ feature this week, we explore why play is important. Read on for our ‘10 Ways to Understand the Value of Play’.

The importance of play in a child’s life cannot be underestimated. Play is a child’s work and is “serious stuff”.

  1. Importance of play: Play fosters a child’s development in every way imaginable. Play helps develop self-esteem and social skills, motor skills, and aids physical development and a child’s intelligence.
  2. Different forms of play: There are many ways in which children play.  Play can be inside or out, using toys or using household items. The imagination can be very active or the child may be focused on a puzzle or constructing a tower. It might be with water or sand, paint or dough. They may love dolls and playing house. Whatever it is, they are learning. Add things in for children to play with which will extend their learning. Such as water in the sand, bubbles in the water etc.
  3. Language: Through play, children are learning new words every day. They are playing with parents and others and have to use language to communicate and play the game they want.
  4. The 20 minute tool: By sitting with and playing with your child every day for 20 minutes, you will not only learn a vast amount of information about your child, how they think and how they see and feel the world but you will also be supporting them to play and helping them learn.
  5. Value play: Allow children time to play. Give them notice of when play time is up, as it’s time to eat or sleep or go out. Respect their time to play and notice when they are playing well with others.
  6. Social skills: Children learn how to socialise and be with others through play. Initially children like to play alone but as they reach school age they see the value in playing with others as opposed to alongside them. Sharing and taking turns can be hard work and play supports children to practice this.
  7. Emotions: You will often see children play the same role play game over and over and then one day it stops. Children will act out what they see important adults in their lives do. This helps them to learn and to understand what is happening and the roles we are playing in the world.
  8. Physical well-being: Outdoor play in particular is so important for children. They get their exercise through playing in the park, running, hide and seek, ball games etc. Children will be happier and more confident when they are fit and healthy.
  9. Aids learning: School can be difficult for some children. It is important to remember when they get in from school to allow play time. They need this to process what has happened in school, with teachers and with friends. They can feel energised after some play and then homework will usually go a lot smoother.
  10. All ages play: Children from birth onwards play, it just changes as they grow and develop. Play with your child from day one. Get comfortable with playing with them and you will be creating a solid foundation for your life together.

This ’10 Ways to …’ feature is compiled by Grace Mulligan, Crèche Team Leader, One Family.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Make Bed Time Better and 10 Ways to Successful Toilet Training.

The One Family parenting skills courses Positive Parenting and Family Communications are enrolling now. Click here for information.